Earwax is a substance that the body creates to keep your ears healthy. Also called cerumen, earwax is lubricating and has antibacterial properties. Typically, when earwax moves to the outside of the ear, it simply flakes away on its own. However, if earwax becomes impacted, meaning that it has excessively accumulated in the ear canal, it can cause problems.
Generally, earwax becomes impacted if people try to clean their ears with thin objects such as cotton swabs, pencils, bobby pins, or even their fingers. These objects push the earwax deeper into the ears, making impaction more likely. Trying to clean the ears in this way can also injure your ears.
When left untreated, excessive earwax can lead to impaction that gets worse over time. Symptoms of an earwax blockage include:
- Trouble hearing/hearing loss
- Ear irritation
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Ear pain
- Itchiness in the ear
- Ear odor/discharge
Older adults who use hearing aids are at a higher risk for earwax impaction. If earwax continues to build up, it can lead to significant hearing loss, making prompt treatment for this condition crucial.
Care For Earwax Impaction
To check if you’re experiencing earwax impaction, your doctor can look deep into the ear with an otoscope. Impacted earwax can then be softened with water, saline, or ear drops and removed.
Generally, leaving your earwax alone is the best way to avoid impaction. The body should be able to clear away old earwax on its own. Using a cloth to wipe the outside of the ear can also help remove earwax, but you should never push the cloth into your ear.
If you’re struggling with excessive earwax, schedule an appointment with one of the skilled physicians at Florida Wellness Medical Group for prompt treatment today.